What You Leave Behind

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
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Sunday, July 8, 2007

"I may be a bastard, but I'm not a fucking bastard"

From Dusk Till Dawn


"I woke up in some Japanese family's Rec Room, and they would not... stop... screaming"

Anchorman




Sometimes you don't learn the error of your ways until it's too late. And some words when spoken can't be taken back.

Leaving Do Time.

I should probably mention why. I was always going to be returning home sometime around now for my brother's wedding in August. As things have turned out, I've been offered a job back in England, which will pay me a rather tidy amount of cash over a short period of time. This will allow me, I hope, to spend a couple of months back home boring people with stories about the last year and then return to Australia, and our round the world trip, with a few of those fantastic British Pounds in my back pocket.

Before I stopped to write this entry, I read back almost every entry I've written thus far - I was trying to get a good retrospective feel for things, and it's distressing just how much one forgets. And as I re-read everything I've done, I couldn't help but think.... Fuck, it's been a good year.

You can measure the impact you have on a place and a place has on you by all sorts of methods - you could see how many bleary eyed folk turn up at your leaving do, you could try and imagine living without these people or you can simply reflect on who you'll miss and why.

Personally, I'm measuring my impact based upon the length of my leaving party, which is weighing in at an impressive six days.

It started on Saturday, with a pre-leaving party leaving party for some of the people who wouldn't be able to make the official party on Sunday. To say it became messy would be an understatement, and we had to force ourselves to stop drinking at around 5AM to ensure we would have enough energy to start the following day's celebrations at 3PM.

Suffice to say, the following day started a little slowly, with the time to finish the first pint averaging at an hour and a quarter.

Still, we rose to the challenge. We had been gifted a free barrel of Cooper's Pale Ale by the boss for the occasion, which we had been keeping in the cellar for three months in preparation - you see with Coopers they leave the yeast and stuff in the keg, so the longer you leave it the stronger it gets. Ours was two months past it's sell by date and potent in all the right ways.

Toadie turned up to, bless him. Ryan, I should say. There aren't any photos of him, as it's considered poor etiquette (by me) to photograph famous people, but he was there. You'll just have to take my word for it. Seriously, if I was going to make up a Neighbours story it would involve one of those blonde girls and a tub of ice cream. Or possibly Harold Bishop and some Vegimite.

Anyway, we were woken bleary eyed on Monday morning by Corey, who had arranged to drag us out into the city, to Chinatown to be exact, for a rather nice lunch/drinking session. I was the proud owner of a rather nasty cut on my forehead, which nobody, myself included, had any idea how I came about it. As we were all so hung-over, we got weird drunk again after only a couple of pints, and couldn't stop laughing at the mundane. The highlight was a place called the Container Bar, which was basically a hollowed out cargo container serving drinks in a car park - but like most things in Melbourne this is a lot cooler than it sounds. Then back to the Pint for more drinks and poker.

Tuesday we were given the afternoon off to recover, before quiz night in the evening. I joined my semi-regular quiz team of Matt and Rob, and our ranks were boosted by the arrival of Bruce Cambell... And we won. Without cheating, too.

This evolved, as these things do, into an all night lock in as it was also Mark and Paddy's last night in Melbourne. It was decided at about three am that what our friends and family really wanted was to be called up and have the "Afternoon Delight" song from Anchorman sang to them by a group of ten drunks. How this started remains a mystery, but we must have called fifteen people between us, each of whom received a "Hi, it's me. Listen, I've just been thinking and I think I've finally worked out what love is..... I'm gonna find my baby/ gonna hold her tight/ gonna grab some afternoon delight" and so on and so forth, with the other nine drunks joining in at the chorus. We would then invariably supply the other lines ("Don't know, Ron - sounds like you've got mental problems to me, man") and then hang up.

This was funny in all sorts of ways, and if you don't agree.... Well, I'll punch you. I'll punch you right in the mouth. Possibly less amusing for the people in England we called, such as old girlfriends (sorry), best mates (sorry) and Becky's mum (sorry) as it was only six pm there and they weren't really ready for us. But the boss enjoyed being woken up at three thirty to be sung at by his staff who were sat having a lock-in in his pub.... or at least, I think he did.

The next day was the two year anniversary of Karaoke at the Pint on Punt - the worst or best night of the week depending on your perspective. For me it always started as the worst and became the best after dangerously large amounts of alcohol. It was also Becky's leaving do, as she was finally leaving to New Zealand after having spent even more time than I did in Melbourne.

So Fancy Dress was the call of the day. Becky herself came as Dolly Parton - can't think why, perhaps it's the blonde hair. There were priests, skeletons, and Peter "Rent O Kill" came as, I believe, the Una Bomber. I myself came as Rowan, one of our regular customers who would always be impeccably dressed in a suit. My reason for this was twofold; firstly, after getting up late on Wednesday and having only twenty minutes before the charity shops closed to find a costume the choice was limited. And secondly, it was an opportunity to look good whilst at the same time technically wearing fancy dress.... I had a name tag, see.

Suffice to say great fun was had by all, and all that remained was to sleep, get up late, pack and get ready for the last day.

I found that by throwing away almost everything I owned I was able to get rid of my big backpack as well. This left me with my entire worldly possessions crammed into one small shoulder bag. A little reminiscent of returning home from Europe a few years ago with nothing but a carrier bag full of duty free cigarettes after having my stuff nicked. An extremely liberating experience.

All that remained was to go down to the pub and get drunk for one last time, with view to sobering up again before getting a taxi to the airport at four am. At three thirty sobering up seemed unlikely, so instead we phoned the boss to sing to him again, and then went from room to room in the hostel upstairs, opening the doors with our master keys and serenading whoever we found inside. This went down well, as far as I can remember; after all, what better way of spending a night than being woken up by eight drunken idiots who appear convinced that singing the Afternoon Delight song in the Anchorman style is the funniest thing in the world?

And then came the taxi itself.

I'll talk about what happened next some other time - it doesn't seem right now.

All I know is I had some of the best times I know in that pub in Melbourne - and I've had some pretty damn good times, I don't mind telling you.

Leaving was hard. If I didn't have flights booked and commitments then I wouldn't have gone anywhere. And if a few things had happened at a few different times, then everything would have turned out differently. But then, isn't that always the case? I'm not a particular fan of fate, or providence... Maybe in my youth, but these days I kind of figure nobody's going to hand you the world on a dish. You want something, you take it for yourself.

And if circumstances conspire to take you away from something you love, then take it on the chin and roll with the punches.

And start conspiring right back.
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Comments

caius
caius on

Ahhhh Mikey
Well, mate.....what can i say.....i dont know whether to laugh or cry....That sounds like the perfect send off, and well deserved i must say! I bet it was the biggest kick in the nuts since Wham broke up to leave there....but hay, at least your back for our 'Summer'....dont hold your breath

I miss Australia mate. Miss the Pint on Punt and The Old Firestation....tear....

Well heres my number incase you feel the need to call or text.....07795462358, use it or lose it sister

Cai love xx

thesylv
thesylv on

the wanderer returns
First may I congratulate you on probably the most entertaining and well written sets of e-mails that i have ever received. They have brightened up many a grey day at work (not that I read my personal e-mails at work in anything other than a designated break that has been approved and counter-signed by a line manager). Glad to hear that you've had a fab time, hopefully a short spell in England won't be too traumatic (things are still shit here, interest rates have gone up again!) anyway, have a good journey back, let me know if you want to catch up and exchange james cameron quotes. Shabba!

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